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Last month, Viking River Cruises announced it would accelerate the addition of its Longship class and add two more new builds in 2012. Originally, the cruise line had planned to add four of the 10 planned Longships in 2012, but Viking has increased that number to six and has added additional departures in late 2012 so that more guests can experience Europe’s Christmas markets.
“Ever since we announced the introduction of the Viking Longships earlier this year, the response has been overwhelming,” said Torstein Hagen, chairman and CEO of Viking River Cruises. “To accommodate the demand, we have decided to accelerate the new builds schedule and bring two more Viking Longships into the fleet in 2012.”
The two additional Longships — the Viking Embla and the Viking Aegir — are part of Viking River Cruises’ $250 million fleet development program, comprised of several complete refurbishments and the addition of 10 new Viking Longships by 2014. The Viking Embla and the Viking Aegir will debut in July and August respectively. The four previously announced Longships — the Viking Freya, the Viking Idun, the Viking Njord and the Viking Odin — will join the fleet in March of next year.
“The Viking name has always been synonymous with exploration, leading the way where others follow,” said Hagen. “With the launch of these six great ships, we continue this tradition, leading the river cruise industry with inspiration, innovation and creativity.”
Each of Viking’s new Longships will be 443 feet long, feature 95 staterooms per ship and will have innovative new features such as two, 445-square-foot Explorer Suites with a living room, bedroom, bathroom and wraparound veranda; seven, 275-square-foot Veranda Suites with a full-size veranda in the living room; 39 staterooms with a full-size veranda; a new all-weather, indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace; al fresco dining on the Upper Deck; and new sustainability upgrades including solar panels and an onboard, organic herb garden.
The six new ships will sail Viking’s most popular itineraries including the 15-day Grand European Tour; the eight-day Romantic Danube; the eight-day Danube Waltz; the 10-day Tulips & Windmills and the eight-day Rhine Getaway.